Dr. Nathalie Pattyn - © International Polar Foundation

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Live From Antarctica: Sunday 14 December

Today, we have had a good day's rest. At the moment, some people are still in their sleeping bags, but not everyone of course. Alain is already in the driver's seat of the Prinoth tractor and has already called upon the services of our local "Antarctic Repairs" specialist, Kristof. Without a doubt, Kristof is the most sought-after person on the expedition! Even the scientists ask him about the ice coring machine's electrical components, the generator or even when they hear a strange noise coming from the motor...

Meanwhile, the base camp team had to secure the mess tent this morning, which was about to blow away (actually that's a bit of an exaggeration -only a piece of the tent cover on the west side had blown away).

Every Sunday we have our rituals (It's amazing how fast one gets accustomed to certain things in just four weeks! Human adaptation has no limits...). Every Sunday we do the laundry, have a good wash (hair, ears, between the toes, etc.), and call home.

What a paradox calling home can be! Although everyone is thrilled to spend a few minutes on the Iridium phone (our satellite telephone) and wouldn't give it up for anything in the world, it is unbearably depressing to call home for most of us. Why is it always easier for you when you're completely alone than right after you speak to your loved ones on the phone for just a few minutes? It must be that hearing the voices of our loved ones reminds us just how much we miss them. Because human adaptation has no limits, we get used to everything here - even to the absence of our loved ones (I know, it sounds awful! Sorry dear families and loved ones, but it's true.) Telephone calls destroy the psychology we adapt ourselves to and make us have to get used to being without our families all over again. After we call home, we slowly re-adapt to the idea of being alone until the following Sunday, when we have to start all over again.

Nathalie Pattyn

Author: IPF

Picture: Dr. Nathalie Pattyn - © International Polar Foundation

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